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Ethiopian News


  • Ethiopia: Renewing Commitment to Succeeded Ethiopia's Renaissance

     

     

    It is evident than before Ethiopia has stunningly been rising since the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF)-led government came to power in 1991. With outstanding home-grown policies and visionary leadership of the incumbent government, Ethiopia has been registering successes in political and socio-economic sectors. Over the past two decades significant changes have been seen in infrastructure development, improved schools and health centres accessibility. Generally, the reduction in the percentage of people under poverty line was significant. The robust economic growth has played a hefty role in this regard. However, there are still gaps between the demand of the people and the supply delivered by the Party.

     

    In his recent media briefing Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn reaffirmed his government's and party's commitment to look in wards to address the basic demands of the public that caused the unrest and violence in some parts of the country. It is also true that there could be capacity and resource limitations to meet all demands of the public for development and good governance. At the same manner some people in the the ruling EPRDF may lack the much needed commitment to the cause of the people or have become immersed in rent-seeking. As to the government, the reform to be take in the coming days will alleviate these challenges.

    Indeed, the government has solemn obligation to foil the futile efforts of anti-Ethiopian forces and ensure citizens can fully exercise their constitutional rights in a peaceful manner. It can't afford to let narrow nationalists, chauvinists and anti-Ethiopian forces hijack the legitimate demands of the public to incite violence in the country. Peace loving Ethiopians should also note foreign elements who are eager to see the nation ravaged in civil war and destitution have been tirelessly spreading hate among Ethiopians. Those who have vested interest to stop Ethiopia from using its natural resources have invested significant amount of resources to further aggravate the situation and force the government to abandon socio-economic schemes.

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  • Global Firepower Rank

     

    The finalized ranking relies on over 50 factors to determine a given nation's Power Index ("PwrIndx") score. This allows smaller, though more technologically-advanced, nations to compete with larger, lesser-developed ones. Modifiers in the form of bonuses and penalties are added to refine the list. Some things to observe in regards to the finalized ranking:

    • Ranking does not simply rely on the total number of weapons available to any one country but rather focuses onweapon diversity within the number totals to provide a better balance of firepower available (i.e. fielding 100 minesweepers does not equal the strategic and tactical value of fielding 10 aircraft carriers).
    • Nuclear stockpiles are NOT taken into account but recognized / suspected nuclear powers receive a bonus.
    • Geographical factors, logistical flexibility, natural resources and local industry influence the final ranking.
    • Available manpower is a key consideration; nations with large populations tend to rank higher.
    • Land-locked nations are NOT penalized for lack of a navy; naval powers ARE penalized for lack of diversity in available assets.
    • NATO allies receive a slight bonus due to the theoretical sharing of resources.
    • Current political / military leadership is NOT taken into account.

    As of 4/1/2016 there are a total of (126) countries included in the GFP database

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  • An opposition leader in Ethiopia has demanded that "political prisoners" be freed as anti-government protests continued to rage in one of Africa's most populous countries.

    Addis Ababa - An opposition leader in Ethiopia has demanded that "political prisoners" be freed as anti-government protests continued to rage in one of Africa's most populous countries.

    ETHIOPIA PROTESTS

    Protests in Oromia started in November last year when the government announced a plan to expand the capital - a city-state - into the surrounding Oromia region.

    Many Oromos saw that as a plan to remove them from fertile land. The scheme has since been dropped, but the unrest spread as demonstrators called for the release of prisoners and for wider freedoms.

    In the Amhara region, demonstrations began over the status of a district - Wolkait - that was once part of Amhara but was incorporated into the neighbouring Tigrayan region more than 20 years ago. Those demonstrations have also since widened.

    The governing Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front last month rejected a United Nations request that it send in observers, saying it alone was responsible for the security of its citizens.

    The government, a close security ally of the West, is often accused of silencing dissent, even blocking internet access at times. At elections last year, it won every seat in the 547-seat parliament

    The call was made by Tiruneh Gamta, a leader of the Oromo ethnic group, from which the biggest number of protesters come.

    According to the New York-based Human Rights Watch, at least 500 people have been killed since unrest began in November. 

    Thousands have also been arrested, rights groups say, and many have not been heard from since they were detained.

    "We want all political prisoners, regardless of any political stand or religion or creed, released from jail. Together with this, we need democratic rights," Gamta told Al Jazeera.

    The government has denied that violence from the security forces is "systemic" and pledged to launch an independent investigation, blaming opposition groups inside and outside of the country and what it called "anti-peace" elements for the chaos.

    Al Jazeera interviewed a woman who said she was arrested while on her way to a market. A protest had been taking place close to the market, she said.

    After a night in a jail cell, she and 30 other people were ordered onto a bus and told not to look outside, she said. Seven hours later, she said, they arrived at a camp.

    "At the camp, they put us in a cell. Then the next day, they ordered us out for what they said was exercise," the woman, who requested anonymity, told Al Jazeera.

    "They beat us as they ordered us to exercise, and when we got tired, they continued to beat us. I tried to do what they said, but I couldn't, so they beat me more. Even when I was running, they were beating me all over my body." 

    READ MORE: The 'Ethiopia rising' narrative and the Oromo protests

    Interrogation was carried out regularly to wear the detained down, the woman said.

    "Five or six policemen interrogated each one of us every day. They kept threatening us. They said if you give false testimony, we will kill you." 

    Protests that started in November among people from the Oromo ethnic group have spread. Demonstrators from the Amhara region have also started to demand greater political and economic rights.

    The Oromo and Amhara are the two biggest ethnic groups in Ethiopia. Both accuse the government of being dominated by members of the Tigrayan ethnic group, which makes up about six percent of the population.

    Government promised accountability

    Government leaders have said they communicate with opposition groups to listen to their grievances. They also promised that police found guilty of abuse will be held to account.

    "We will do whatever it takes to make sure such things do not happen, and if they do happen, the people are not left unaccounted for," Getachew Reda, a government spokesman, told Al Jazeera.

    Members of the opposition, though, say they have heard similar reassurances before.

    READ MORE: 'Foreign firms attacked' as Ethiopia protests continue

    In the latest bout of unrest earlier this week, protesters attacked foreign-owned businesses, according to the owners of a flower firm.

    The Dutch company said crowds of people in the Oromia and Amhara regions torched flower farms as they targeted businesses with perceived links to the government. Flowers are one of the country's top exports.

    Esmeralda Farms said its 10-million-euro investment ($11.1m) went up in smoke this week in Bahir Dar city and that several other horticulture companies were also affected.

     
    Are Ethiopia's Oromo being violently repressed? - UpFront


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  • A Muffled Insurrection in Ethiopia by Stratfor - August 19, 2016

    Summary

    Ethiopia’s government, led by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, has contended with protests for nearly a year. The government’s efforts to quell the unrest have made headlines and drawn international criticism of late, but its problems go well beyond humanitarian concerns. Since the mid-1970s, Ethiopia underwent several periods of upheaval that changed not just the leaders of the country but also the political system and institutions that govern it. Now, with ethnic discontent reaching a new high and the tendrils of insurgency starting to re-emerge, Desalegn’s administration faces the greatest challenge to its rule yet.

    Analysis

    The protests erupted over a land reform measure, but the roots of discontent go much deeper. Ethiopia’s Tigray ethnic population makes up just 6 percent of the country’s population, yet it enjoys disproportionate influence and representation in government institutions. When the Tigray-dominated government proposed to develop farmland predominantly used by the Oromo people, who make up 34 percent of the population, protests broke out across Oromo regions from November 2015 onward.

    Eventually, the government decided against the planned reform, hoping that the protests would dissipate. Instead, protesters continued to turn out, driven by the imprisonment of demonstrators. Then, in recent weeks, the Amhara people — another large ethnic group, accounting for 29 percent of the population — joined in, and the focus of the protests shifted to demands for political equality and an end to the Tigray-dominated ruling coalition’s reign. The protests have now surpassed any grievances about specific legislation, or any specific law enforcement action. Instead, there is a rising resistance to the Tigray’s outsize power and enough pent-up discontent to challenge Ethiopia’s current government.

    Together, the Oromo and Amhara are a more serious threat to Ethiopia’s leadership than the Oromo on their own. Furthermore, the Amhara people are more concentrated in urban areas than the Oromo, which has led to protests in population centers. Facing mounting dissent from two of the country’s largest ethnic groups, the government has attempted to suppress the unrest through force. During the weekend of Aug. 7, reports emerged that over 100 civilians had been killed in protests, which led to outcry over the Ethiopian security services’ brutal methods to control the demonstrations. Because the Ethiopian government exercises strict control over media activity in the country and restricts internet access, reports of what exactly happened are slow to emerge. But information from local hospitals suggests that another 100 civilians have been killed since that weekend; at least 55 of these deaths have been confirmed. The rise of urban protests has also led to greater media coverage of the turmoil, despite the government’s attempts to control information.

    A History of Upheaval

    Ethiopia is no stranger to political unrest. For many centuries the country was run by a monarchy, the Solomonic dynasty, whose rule ended with emperor Haile Selassie. In 1974, a military council brought the first regime change, installing a communist-inspired military council, the Dergue, to lead the country. Eventually, popular support for the new administration began to erode, leading to civil war. The Dergue’s most prominent officer, Mengistu Haile Mariam, tried to reform the Dergue into the People’s Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in 1987, but just four years later, several ethnic rebel groups overthrew the government. The Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front, led by Meles Zenawi, eventually gained control of Ethiopia and installed the element that rules to this day.

     

     

     

    The government in Addis Ababa has been challenged before. Unlike the ongoing protests, however, previous uprisings such as the Ogaden rebellion were isolated to smaller ethnic groups acting alone, and the government dealt with them decisively and successfully. By joining forces across ethnic lines to oppose the ruling powers, the Oromo and Amhara present a more formidable problem for Ethiopia’s leadership. Additionally, under Desalegn’s rule, the government has faced internal unrest and may not be as strong as it was during Zenawi’s rule, which lasted until 2012. As the chairman of the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front — the dominant party in the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front coalition — Zenawi led the fight against the communist government that preceded it and installed the Tigray-dominated government in Addis Ababa. His parliament consisted of fellow rebel veterans who had all fought and won together in the war against the Dergue, while Desalegn’s administration lacks the same unity and solidarity. The Oromo and Amhara protests will test whether the Tigrayan administration can endure without Zenawi.

    A Budding Insurrection

    At this point, the protests and limited rebel activity do not even approach the situation Ethiopia faced in the 1970s and 1980s, when the Dergue countered multiple severe rebellions. Nonetheless, given the size of the Amhara and Oromo populations in Ethiopia, the threat they present should not be taken lightly. As strong as they appear, the Tigray-dominated institutions in Ethiopia are not monolithic. And, because of their small number, the Tigray have had to co-opt members of smaller ethnicities (such as the Wolayta, from which Desalegn hails), and even the Amhara and Oromo, to serve in government and man the security forces. If opposition to the government increases along ethnic lines, the ruling elite or even Ethiopia’s security forces could fracture.

    Since the bloody Aug. 7 weekend, protesters in some areas have turned to less violent forms of civil disobedience. For instance, in the Amhara city of Gondar — once the capital of an ancient Ethiopian empire — civilians have gone on a general strike, turning the city into a ghost town despite calls from the government to resume business as usual. Some reports even claim that local militia or rebel groups near Gondar have attacked convoys and bases belonging to the security forces. Though these incidents seem to be few and far between at this point, several latent insurgencies linger in Ethiopia, and growing ethnic dissent could rejuvenate and galvanize support for these simmering rebellions. In the past week, two rebel groups announced their alliance. If these groups increase their attacks, or if other groups join the movement opposing the government, the current administration could face a similar fate to the one it brought upon its predecessors.

    The Oromo and Amhara protest movements could change the course of Ethiopia’s future, but it is not yet clear what the result of their uprising will be. A change of leadership could bring greater political freedoms, such as allowing outlawed opposition groups to take part in free and fair elections. On the other hand, it could also lead to prolonged conflict and instability. If the resistance against the government reaches critical levels, Desalegn could decide against an armed struggle and instead take political measures to liberalize or transfer power. Regardless of how this situation develops, Ethiopia’s Tigray-dominated government may not be able to sustain its hold on power for much longer. And though the current protests may be Desalegn’s first major challenge, they will likely not be his last.

     

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